REVEALED: Housewife and mum supporter of new superstore is in fact long dead great grandmother

JULIE Webb, the vice chairman of Soham Town Council, her husband Tim, and his late great grand mother Elizabeth Birks are spearheading moves to get a new superstore built in Soham.

The only problem is, as Soham residents will discover today, is that were she still alive Elizabeth would be 129.

After weeks of speculation on the Soham Debate forum on Facebook, the identity of Elizabeth Birks - until now one of the most prolific proponents of the store- has been revealed to be that of a 19th century woman from Derby.

Until this week hundreds of Soham residents who tuned into the Facebook page believed Elizabeth Birks to be a hard working mum, living in the north of the town, and keen on offering what she called a better choice of shops for the community.

But when some townsfolk tried to meet her- and challenge her views- she was always unavailable or “on holiday” or “staying with friends” for a few days or weeks.

Now, however, a search made by Tim Webb in 2004 of an on line ancestry website has revealed that Elizabeth Birks was his great grand mother.

“I am researching the family of Birkss of Derby,” wrote Mr Webb. “My great grand mother Elizabeth Birks born 24.1.1883, married John Slater, her father was Robert Birkss born about 1862 and was a drayman.”

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Mr Webb was not available for comment about Elizabeth Birks but among his Facebook comments was that traders must take the blame for allowing a supermarket to move in.

“Why didn’t the traders get together to try to improve the high street before the talk of the supermarket coming?” he wrote. “The reason was because they were just interested in their own pockets and competing against each.”

* In next week’s Standard you can read extracts from the whole Facebook debate and we explore who is the author of the comments posted under the name of Elizabeth Birks.

* Join the REAL debate in your local paper by emailing us your views today. Please email the editor